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Written By StaceyPageOnline / Sports on Thursday, February 21, 2019

Warsaw’s Alex Cook will swim in both the 50 and 100 freestyle preliminaries Friday night at the IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals. (File photo by Mike Deak)

INDIANAPOLIS – In a boys swim landscape that has seen the field grow much tighter in recent years, some of the area’s best will have to close that gap with hopes of a state championship on the mind.

The IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals begin Friday night with preliminary rounds, and while there are a handful of area swimmers positioned within the top 10 of the heat sheets, a host of others will have to cut some serious time to make it to a Saturday swim.

Only eight swimmers and two relays have posted sectional times that would squeeze into a Saturday swim as it stands heading into the weekend. Concord’s Kal Findley has two positions within the top 10, his individual medley fifth and his backstroke tenth. Findley’s teammate, Matt Bond, is listed as the third-fastest breaststroker, and will have plenty of area representation in likely the event that could see area Saturday swims.

Bond comes in at 56.80, and brings three others from the Northridge Sectional with him in Northridge’s Joey Garberick (16th) and Michael VanCoppenoelle (20th) and Elkhart Central’s Carter Reif (18th) as well as Warsaw Sectional champion Grant Knight. The Tiger junior is currently sixth with his title time of 57.26, but was seeded second in the state coming into the sectionals from season output. Knight finished last season on a high note, moving up to tenth at the State Finals, and fully expects to make a run at the finals podium this weekend.

“It’s just one meet at a time, one day at a time,” said Warsaw head coach Tony DeBrota. “Grant didn’t have anyone racing him hard in the breaststroke, so it’s kind of tricky going really hard without someone pushing you. He’s determined to get back to the Saturday swims, so I think he’ll be fine.”

Knight will also swim the IM, but comes in 25th at 1:57.38, and will work with the Warsaw medley relay (28th, 1:39.74) and 200 free relay (29th, 1:30.05).

Warsaw senior Alex Cook will also have four swims, part of the two relays as well as his first-ever entries into the 50 and 100 freestyles. Cook will need to make up a lot of places, starting out 32nd in the 50 (22.08) and 31st in the 100 (48.93).

“Relays, we’ll figure that out when we get there,” DeBrota said. “That was one thing we were kind of surprised about this year was a first in medley. We haven’t seen many first places in that event, we usually load up on the freestyles. It will really just come down to who wants it when we get there Friday.”

Wawasee has just one entry at the state meet, that coming in a callback for senior Jared Krugman, who placed second at Northridge in the 200 freestyle, but had his 1:44.21 qualify as one of the at-large times to move on. Krugman is seeded 27th, but hopes to improve on his junior placement of 21st.

NorthWood will also have a returner to the state meet in junior Caden Jenkins, who makes the diving finals for the second time. The Panther diver won his first-ever Northern Lakes Conference and sectional titles this season, then placed fifth to move on from the Penn Regional, to where he will try to land a top 16-spot for the first time. Jenkins finished 31st a year ago.

The Northridge Raiders have a shot at scoring a top-10 team placing with a host of event representation.

It’s medley relay (15th), 200 free relay (18th) and 400 free relay (20th) are all within striking distance of day two qualification. Nick Dibley is alive in both the 200 and 500 freestyles, Garberick in both the 50 and breaststroke, VanCoppenoelle in both the IM and breaststroke and Luke Dibley in the 500.

Concord has Findley in two, Bond in the 100 free and breaststroke, diver Aaron Leas and its 200 free relay.

Elkhart Central has Reif in both the butterfly and breaststroke, Eric Kelm in the butterfly, and divers Noah Sears and Henry Gatzemeyer.

Culver Academy has Mitchell Schott in the 200 and 500 freestyles, Columbia City has Ryan DeVito in the butterfly and its 400 free relay and Northfield with Grant Dale in the backstroke.

Carmel is in position to win its fifth consecutive state team championship.

Top seeds for the IHSAA Boys Swimming State Finals:
MR – Munster 1:31.44
200 – Jacob Mitchell, Carmel 1:36.29
IM – Lucas Piunti, Chesterton 1:49.06
50 – Donald Rogers, Hamilton Southeastern 20.71
Butterfly – Grant Afman, Munster 48.95
100 – Ethan Churilla, Highland 45.64
500 – Jacob Mitchell, Carmel 4:22.86
200 FR – Carmel 1:24.30
Backstroke – Wyatt Davis, Carmel 48.07
Breaststroke – Kyle Adams, Munster 55.96
400 FR – Carmel 3:04.46

Posted In: Boy's Sports > Swimming and Diving